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At the Court at St. James's, the 29th of August 1798, present the King's most excellent Majefty in Council.
WHEREAS, by the unjust aggreffion of the perfons exerciling the powers of government in France, now in hoftility with his Majesty, many parts of Italy have been forcibly taken poffeffion of, and the ancient governments thereof fubverted, and new governments erected, under the influence of
their councils, for the purpofe of aiding more effectually their defigns against the common interefts of Europe, and efpecially for the profecution of their hoftile intentions against the commerce, navigation, and property of his Majefty's faithful fubjects: and whereas divers acts, injurious to the juft rights of his Majesty and to the interefts of thefe kingdoms, have in confequence been committed; his Majefty is pleafed to declare (by and with the advice of his Privy Council) that fuch parts of the coafts of the Mediterranean as are occupied by the arms of the faid perfons exercifing the powers of government in France, or are fubject to the government of perfons acting notorioufly under their influence and direction, and efpecially the coafts and ports of Genoa, and thofe of the territory of the Pope, fhall be confidered as in a state of hoftility with his Majefty; and all his Majesty's subjects and others are required to treat and confider the inhabitants and fubjeds thereof as his Majefty's enemies.
Meffage to the Council of Five Hundred on the 28th Fructidor (September 14).
THE Executive Directory is defirous to inform you that the French troops have entered Egypt. The French nation, the Ottoman Porte itfelf, and the oppreffed people of that fine but anfortunate country, are at last avenged.
This memorable event had been long foreseen by a small number of men to whom glorious and useful ideas are familiar; but it was too much the custom to rank it among chimerical projects. It was referved for the French republic to realize this new prodigy.
The caufes which prepared and infured its fuccefs are now to be retraced.
For nearly forty years the Beys with their Mamelucks, thofe domincering flaves of Egypt, practifed the most fhameful vexations on the French fettled in thofe countries, on the faith of our treaties with the Porte. From the period of the domination of Ali Bey, about 1760, we may particularly date the excess of thofe outrages. That audacious ufurper, after having thrown off the yoke of the Grand Seignior, by ignominioufly expelling his Pacha, refufing to pay tribute, and arrogating the right of making money of his own coin, infulted our confuls, menaced our drogmans with the most infamous punifhments, and practifed numerous impofitions on our merchants. His fucceffors, Krahil Bey, and Mohamed Bey, partly deferve fimilar reproaches; but their vexations were more moderate. Mourad Bey, and Ibraham Bey,
who reigned after them, furpaffed (the first particularly) all their predeceffors in extortion and plunder. Indignant at the conduct of thefe oppreffors, the Ottoman Porte appeared in 1786 to with to take vengeance upon them. With the aid of the forces commanded by Haffan Pacha, fhe compelled them to fly, and placed a fucceffor; but fhe did not know how to fecure her authority; and thefe two Beys in 1791, at the death of Ifmael Bey, who had replaced them, recovered their power without obftacle, and confequently affumed their former domination.
From that inftant, but particularly fince France has been confituted a republic, the French have experienced in Egypt vexations a thoufand times more revolting. It was eafy to recognife. the influence and the fury of the British cabinet. The extortions of all forts multiplied, often without the pretext of neccility; and all remonstrances were vain.
In the fecond year of the republic, the conful wifhed to make juft reprefentations to Mourad Bey on the fubject of the extraordinary exactions ordered by that ufurper from the French merchants. The Bey, far from fhowing a difpofition to acquiefce in his request, confined him inftantly to his own houfe by an armed force, till all the produce of that odious extortion had been entirely paid him.
Towards the end of that fame year, the vexations arose to such a pitch, that the French fettled at Cairo, defirous to put their perfons and the remainder of their fortunes out of imminent danger, decided to remove their establishments to Alexandria: but Mourad Bey took offence at this refolution; he ordered them to be pursued in their flight: fuch as remained were treated as vile criminals, and redoubled his rage againft them all, after he knew one of the fugitives was brother to a member of the National 17 Convention, against which he vomited forth his implacable hatred.
Thus his tyranny knew no bounds, and the French nation found itself a prifoner in Egypt. The Bey, tormented every inftant with the apprehenfions that fome attempt might be made to efcape his vigilance, dared to tell our conful, that if a fingle Frenchman should engage in fuch an undertaking, all, even the conful him felf, thould forfeit their heads for his efcape. Such audacity and madnefs can fcarcely be conceived; but he foon perceived that this exceffive tyranny would not long continue profitable. He returned, on the demand of the Grand Vizir, not the fums that had been extorted, but their liberty, to the French; and even as the price of that which was regarded as a favour, he impofed new pecuniary facrifices. The French then were afraid to fettle in the third year at Alexandria; but there, as at Rofetta and other places on the coaft of the Mediter
ranean, they were expofed to the rapacity of all fubaltern agents. Thefe agents of the Bey, more bafe and felonious even than himfelf, violently feized upon the French merchandifes as they arrived in port. They fixed their own prices on the goods, and even fettled the mode of payment. Should they meet the leaft refiftance, even of the most lawful kind, force was immediately employed to repel it. At Rofetta, the gates of our vice-conful were forced, his windows broken, and even weapons raised against him, because he refused to submit to a contribution, from which even Mourad Bey himself had ordered the French to be exempted. Notwithstanding this order of the Bey, the conful was obliged to yield to force. Finally, on the 10th of January Jaft, Coram, a custom-house officer of Mourad Bey, at Alexandria, affembled all the drogmans, and declared to them, that the flightest violation of what he called the rights of his master fhould be punifhed with five hundred ftrokes of the baftinado, without regard to the confular character. A few days before, he threatened a drogman to cut off his head, and fend it to his conful.
Thus all the rights of nations were violated in the perfons of the French with the most audacious impudence; all our treaties with the Porte, all our agreements difregarded by the Beys, and by the meanest of their agents, under the pretext, as they fay, of not having been parties to them; the character of our conful difowned, outraged; the liberty and lives of the French compromifed every moment, and their properties given up to pillage. The French republic could not fuffer much longer those numerous aggreffions, evidently inftigated by England, to remain unpunifhed. Its patience has been extreme. The audacity of its oppreffors had attained its full growth. How then was the French government to procure redrefs for fuch complicated inju ries? Several times, through the medium of its envoy, it addreffed its complaints to the Porte; but if we except the expedition of Haffan Pacha in 1786, who merely chaftifed two Beys, without making compenfation for the paft, or provifion for the future, every thing the Porte thought proper to be done was, to write in our favour fome letters to the Pacha of Egypt, who could do nothing, and to the two Beys, who had power, but were firmly refolved to grant nothing on this recommendation but a deceitful fubmiffion. And thus, in the fourth year, the French ambaffador at the Porte, having fent into Egypt an agent accredited with letters from the Grand Vizir, this agent obtained not real reparation, not a reftitution of the immenfe fums extorted from the French, but fome illufory ftipulations refpecting a reduction of the duties upon certain merchandifes, conformable to ancient treaties; but fcarcely had he turned his back, when Mourad Bey gave orders, which were punctually obeyed, to place
the duties on precifely the fame footing they ftood before his arrival.
The effort of the Ottoman Empire to protect the French was therefore evidently without weight or energy; and how could it be expected to produce a durable effect in our favour, when the. Porte was reduced to that state in which it was not able to protect itself against the Beys; when it felt itself obliged to fuffer three millions of Egyptians, whom it called its fubje&ts, to become the miferable victims of foreign tyranny; when its Pacha was treated in Egypt as the bafeft of flaves; when the Grand Seignior was infenfibly stripped of his rights; and finally, when they no longer paid the contributions referved on the conqueft of Egypt by Selim the Second? All this proves beyond a doubt, that the fovereignty of the Porte in this country was but an empty title; and after its fruitless efforts in our favour, it would be to little purpose to expect from it a degree of intereft for us, which. it is neither able, nor dares to manifeft for itself.-Nothing then remains for us but to do justice to ourselves, and by our armies to make those base ufurpers, fupported by the cabinet of St. James's, expiate thofe crimes which they have committed against us.
The French army prefented itself the aft of July. It was received at Alexandria, at Rofetta, and on the 23d of July it entered Cairo. Thus thefe odious ufurpers will no more opprefs this ancient and fruitful land, which time cannot exhauft; which annually recruits itself by a kind of prodigy; where vegetation is of aftonishing activity and almoft fpontaneous; and where the richest productions of the four quarters of the globe may be found together. But it may be faid, no declaration of war preceded this expedition. Against whom could it have been made? Against the Ottoman Porte? We were far from being willing to attack this ancient ally of France, and imputing to it an oppreffion, of which it was the first victim itfelf. Is it then against the ifolated government of the Beys? Such an authority does not exift, and could not be recognised. When we chaftife robbers, we do not declare war against them. And thus in attacking the Beys, it was in fact only England we were going to combat. It is therefore with a fuperabundance of right, that the French republic is put into a fituation for fpeedily obtaining the immenfe reparations due from the ufurpers of Egypt. But it did not wifh to conquer for itfelt alone. Egypt was oppreffed by these rapacious plunderers. The people of Egypt fhall be avenged, and the cultivator of thefe fruitful countries fhall at length enjoy the fruit of his labours, which has been torn from him with the moft ftupid barbarity. The authority of the Porte was totally difowned. It will receive from the hands of the victorious French the immenfe advantages of which it has been long deprived. Finally, for the good of the whole world, Egypt will become the country in the whole uniYY verfe